Medical Educator Is Keen on Evidence

August 06, 2018 10:05 am David Mitchell Kansas City, Mo. –

If there's an innovative way to teach and share evidence-based medicine, Steve Brown, M.D., will find it. Brown was here Aug. 2-4 to share his patient-oriented evidence that matters (POEMs) presentations during the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students in what has become an annual tradition.

[headshot of Steven Brown, M.D.]

"Family physicians understanding the evidence and mastering communication of that information is absolutely key to transforming our health care system," said Brown, who is program director of the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix Family Medicine Residency.

Of course, that doesn't mean it can't be fun, too.

Brown is an associate editor for Essential Evidence Plus,(www.essentialevidenceplus.com) an online point-of-care clinical decision support system that scours journals relevant to primary care and publishes hundreds of POEMS each year. For their POEMs presentations,(static.coreapps.net) Brown and colleague Erik Lindbloom, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia, have narrowed the field to 20, with the goal of sharing practice-changing information while entertaining audience members in the process. Their sessions typically draw packed crowds.

Brown and his residents also aim to inform -- but not to take themselves too seriously -- in the wildly popular AFP Podcast. In addition to highlighting key findings in the most recent American Family Physician articles, the podcast features interviews and even live music.

"Kudos to the editors for letting us be ourselves," said Brown, who became an AFP medical editor after the podcast launched. "We know medicine can be deep, and we talk about the hard parts of medicine. But everyone should see that doctors are real people, too."

The podcast debuted in July 2015, after (then) resident Luke Peterson, D.O., suggested the idea to Brown, who, in turn, pitched it to (then) AFP editor Jay Siwek, M.D. The podcast, which averages more than 50,000 downloads per month, reached the 1 million total downloads milestone earlier this year. It earned a 2018 Innovative Program Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and also has been recognized for excellence by Association Media & Publishing.

"We're podcast nerds," Brown said. "We realized AFP -- which is the most-read journal in primary care -- didn't have a podcast. We had heard a lot of other journal podcasts, and they tend to be on the dry side, with editors reading the table of contents. We thought this was a good niche to show the evidence and passion for full-spectrum family medicine."

Brown spent the first four years of his career post-residency in the Indian Health Service but was drawn back to the academic setting. He's been faculty at Arizona for the past 13 years, including seven as program director.

"I chose family medicine because I saw so many amazing people who were family physicians, and I wanted to be like them," he said. "Giving back as a teacher has been a really important part of my career."